Table saws are some pretty versatile tools when it comes to carpentry and woodworking. There are tons of accessories to choose from, as well as different types of blades too. Now, the type of blade you use is going to make a huge difference in terms of your end result.
Therefore, knowing how to choose the right table saw blade for specific jobs is very important. Let’s figure out exactly that.
What Affects Table Saw Blade Choice?
Before we get into talking about the many different types of table saw blades out there, let’s take a look at the main factors that will decide what exact type you will need.
The number one deciding factor when choosing a table saw blade is the material that you are sawing. The point here is that there are many different kinds of blades, with each one being ideal for different types of materials.
Some are designed for hardwood, some are designed for manufactured wood such as particleboard, and some are made for glass, stone, masonry, metals, ceramics, and other materials too.
You absolutely need to match the blade type to the material being cut.
Although most standard table saws feature the same blade size, there are some variations.
The average size for a table saw blade is 10 inches. That said, some may be as small as 6 inches, with others being as large as 12 inches. Some are even larger.
As such, before getting a new blade, make sure you know the size you need.
Type of Cut and Purpose
As you will see from the saw blades that we will discuss below, some of them are designed with a specific end result in mind. A prime example of this is the glue-line rip blade, which is specifically designed to allow for easy gluing (without jointing) once a cut has been made.
You should also keep the type of cut you plan to be making in mind. There are blades that are specifically designed for dado cuts, rips, crosscuts, etc.
Although this should not be the number one deciding factor, you may be operating on a budget, in which case you should keep the price in mind. Of course, a diamond blade is going to cost much more than a regular steel blade, and so on and so forth.
13 Types of Table Saw Blades
Let’s take a look at the most common and popular types of table saw blades out there, as well as some less common ones too.
General Purpose Blade
This is a standard blade type that works fine for most applications. It’s a basic blade that does not excel in any one department but that is fine for general use. These blades, as the name implies, feature 40 teeth that are evenly spaced and feature alternative bevelling.
The next type of blade you should have is a 50-tooth combination blade, which is like a mix between the rip blades and crosscut blades that we will look at below. These blades feature 40 teeth that are evenly spaced and feature an alternate bevel design (like a crosscut blade), along with another 10 widely spaced teeth with flat-top designs fronted by large gullets (like a rip blade).
If you need something basic that works well for both ripping and cutting, the combination blade is the way to go.
They feature anywhere from 10 to 30 teeth, and most have around 20. They usually have a smaller number of teeth when compared to other blade types. Rip blades have a flat teeth configuration to handle large pieces of wood, with the teeth angles being fairly severe, usually at least 20 degrees.
The crosscut blade is specially designed to cut against the grain of the wood and works really well for making fine and smooth cuts. This type of blade usually has anywhere between 60 and 90 small teeth.
Due to the large number of small teeth, a crosscut blade removes much less material than a rip blade, and thus produces a smoother result.
One of the most unique yet useful blade types that you will come across is the dado blade or dado blade set. The reason we call this a dado blade set is because there isn’t just one blade, but multiple blades combined together.
Dado blade sets are designed to cut hollows into wood, such as rabbets and dadoes, as opposed to cutting all the way through. They feature two exterior blades that make the cuts that form the edge of the groove, rabbet, or dado, and they also feature interior chippers that chip away the material.
The size and number of chippers allow for the adjustment of the cut’s width.
Thin Kerf Blade
Thin kerf saw blades are another really special kind to consider, with the reason for this being that they are about 25% thinner than your average table saw blade. The thinness of the blade allows for much less sawdust production and less wasted wood. These blades are ideal for thin-strip ripping and are designed to allow for extremely precise width rips.
They generally also have a high TPI (teeth per inch) count, as well as carbide teeth, to ensure optimal smoothness.
One of the most important saw blade types to be familiar with is the Hi-ATB blade, which differs from a normal ATB blade, with the main difference being that the bevel of the teeth is always 25 degrees or higher. Hi-ATB blades are ideal for making precision cuts because due to their tooth style, they cause less tear-out than any other table saw blade.
Due to the design of these teeth, Hi-ATB blades are ideal for brittle materials that might otherwise break.
Glue-Line Rip Blade
If you are dealing with lots of thick pieces of solid wood, a good table saw blade style to consider is the glue-line rip blade. Keep in mind that this type of blade is not designed to cut stock thicker than 1 inch.
However, when compared to a standard rip blade, the glue-line rip blade produces much cleaner edges, which is good because it results in not needing to feed your wood through a jointer before you glue various pieces together once they have been cut. What is also good about this type of blade is that thanks to the TCG teeth, it can also cut abrasive materials such as particleboard.
Aluminum Alloy-Coated Blade
Another thing to consider when choosing between various table saw blades is what the blade is made out of and coated with. For instance, you could get a blade that is made with an aluminum alloy coating.
This is one of the less expensive coatings that you can get, and it’s ideal in terms of durability and for basic use. They also feature decent heat resistance.
The next type of coating that you might want to consider for your table saw blade is a Teflon coating. As you might know from your cookware, Teflon is a material designed specifically for non-stick purposes.
This is also useful when it comes to saw blades, because when coated with Teflon, saw blades suffer from much less friction, they can make cleaner cuts, and they also don’t get nearly as hot as your average table saw blade. This type of blade is known for having a long lifespan, plus they don’t rust easily.
You can also find table saw blades that are coated in nickel, which can be beneficial because nickel is very strong and durable.
This is a type of saw blade that can be used for many applications, but the main point is that they don’t suffer from a lot of heat buildup and they tend to last for a very long time too.
Carbide or tungsten carbide and titanium carbide saw blades are very special, as they are known for their extreme level of durability. One of the biggest advantages of carbide-tipped blades is that they can last for up to ten times longer than your average steel blade, which is because carbide is super strong and durable.
The teeth don’t dull fast, they don’t break easily, and they are ideal for sawing all sorts of dense and hard materials, combined with minimal tear-out. Carbide blades are ideal for making very smooth cuts and the best ones can even be used to cut through a variety of metals.
One of the most expensive types of table saw blades out there is the diamond blade. As you can imagine, these feature a thin coating of diamond all along their teeth, with diamond of course being the number one hardest and most durable thing known to man.
Diamond blades can be used for cutting masonry, stone, concrete, asphalt, glass, ceramics, and more. They are so extremely sharp that they can cut both the hardest and densest materials out there, not to mention materials that are extremely fragile.
Table Saw Blade Specifications to Consider
Let’s quickly take a look at the main specifications to keep in mind when you are choosing the right table saw blade for your needs.
Teeth per Inch (TPI)
One of the most important considerations when choosing a table saw blade is the TPI count.
Generally speaking, the more teeth a table saw blade has for every inch, the better it will be at making very smooth, clean, and precise cuts. A lower TPI count results in a faster and rougher cut, with higher TPI counts being ideal for harder materials that require smooth cuts.
For instance, blades designed to cut stone will have a very high TPI count.
The next important consideration here is what style of teeth the saw blade in question has.
Some of the main tooth styles include FTG or flat-top grind, which is ideal for fast rips and rough cross cuts; and the ATB or alternating top bevel, which is great for all-purpose ripping and crosscutting. Then, there is also the TCG tooth style, which is meant for sawing very dense materials.
You should also consider the material which the blade is made out of, as well as the coating that it features. For more info on aluminum alloy, nickel, carbide, and diamond coatings, refer to the section above.
Lastly, you should also keep in mind the blade’s kerf. This is a fancy way to refer to its thickness – in other words, it will determine how much of your material is wasted in the cutting process.
Can You Use a Miter Saw Blade on a Table Saw?
If you have to, you can technically use a miter saw blade on your table saw. Now, there are of course many different types of miter saw blades, but the point here is as long as the size is appropriate for your table saw, it will technically work. Just pay attention to the blade style in relation to the job you are trying to accomplish.
There you have it, folks, everything you need to know about choosing the right table saw blade for the job. Always consider what material you are cutting, what the end result should look like, and what kind of features you need out of your saw blade.
Once you know that, you can then choose the specific type and style of table saw blade best suited for the job at hand.